04/27/12 — Mount Olive crushes Erskine

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Mount Olive crushes Erskine

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 27, 2012 1:48 PM

WILSON -- The plan worked early until Mount Olive started hitting the ball.

The No. 1-ranked Trojans plated eight third-inning runs and throttled sixth-seeded Pfeiffer University, 14-5, in opening-round play of the 2012 Conference Carolinas baseball tournament at historic Fleming Stadium on Thursday evening.

Mount Olive (39-7 overall) faces Pfeiffer at 3 p.m. today. The third-seeded Falcons lost to fourth-seeded King (Tenn.) College, 9-4, and must upset the Trojans to stay alive in the double-elimination tournament.

Erskine head coach Kevin Nichols reached into his pitching cupboard nearly every inning, and used 11 different hurlers in the game. The Flying Fleet staff combined to surrender 16 hits and yielded two home runs to MOC All-American Jake Rogers, who was named the Conference Carolinas player-of-the-year.

"(Nichols) had a good plan, he really did," Trojans head coach Carl Lancaster said. "I've got to commend him. He stayed with it. He didn't think he had one kid who could hold us down and I don't know how many he used, but he certainly went through it (the bullpen).

"That was a good win for us."

The Flying Fleet's Dustin Sherbert, Tyler Jones and Taylor wall combined to allow two runs on four hits in three innings of work. Robbie Brown, the fourth pitcher Nichols called upon, ran into trouble in the fourth and the Trojans erupted for seven runs.

Sophomore Will Bynum broke a 2-2 deadlock with an RBI double to right center field. Mike Mercurio rapped out an RBI single and Antonio Callaway drove in two runs with a base hit to the right side.

Rogers cleared the sacks with a three-run blast over the right-field wall.

"We got to that one kid and blew it open," Lancaster said.

MOC right-hander Matt Dillon held Erskine scoreless in five of eight innings and permitted four runs (three earned) on six hits with eight strikeouts. The JUCO transfer improved to 9-0 less than three hours after being named the Conference Carolinas pitcher-of-the-year.

"Matt stayed in the zone," Lancaster said.

Twelve Trojans received either first- or second-team All-Conference Carolinas accolades. Joining Rogers, Dillon, Mercurio and Callaway on the first team were Jermaine Berry, Geno Escalante, Nick Gaeta and Zach Smith. Second-team selections were Bynum, Cameron Sherrer and Jake Moser.

"We had an all-conference player at every position and I can't ever remember that happening before," Lancaster said.